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Thread: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

  1. #1

    Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    I have an opportunity to buy a Horseman LE 4x5 for $300. Body only.
    I want one lens that will be able to shoot full body and then move in
    tighter for headshots. What do you suggest?

    Additionally, I also want to shoot smaller objects -- like flowers -- and really have them fill up the frame and be sharp. Does this necessarily put me in macro territory? Not sure. Or can I just extend the bellows and buy a normal (let's say 150 lens).

    There is a 400mm bellows extension on this camera. Is that enough to shoot smaller objects? Or do I need some kind of extension (hope not). I would rather not have to buy a bag bellows etc. I want to keep this setup pretty simple.

    Thanks for any input. It would be a huge help.

    Jeff Romeo

  2. #2
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    A 150mm should suffice for what you want to do, and you should be fine as well with 400mm of bellows with that lens.

  3. #3
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Temperance, MI

    Re: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    You can do quite a lot with the basic camera and a 150mm lens. Rodenstock makes a great 180mm macro lens when you need to work close. Get used to the basics before you let GAS take over. For portrait work a 210mm is ideal. Bag bellows are used for wide angle lenses to allow movements up close to the camera body.

    BTW are you related to James Romeo from NYC?
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Solvang, California

    Re: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    I wouldn't want a 150mm lens for head and shoulder portraits. I think you'd be better served with a 210mm.

    If a 210mm won't focus close enough for the flower stuff, you can add a 150/135 inexpensively later as the budget allows.

    I teach college large format courses and we always equip our cameras with a 210 to start out with.

    The Horseman is a great camera system, albeit a bit heavy. The price ($300) sounds like a good one if the camera is clean and the bellows is sound. One advantage of the Horseman system is that many Sinar accessories (lens boards, bellows, etc.) will fit it. By shopping carefully (read patiently) you should be able to get everything you need and stay under $700.

    If it's your first view camera, I'd suggest either the Leslie Stobel book, 7th edition, or Steve Simmons, Using the View Camera.

    Good luck with it.


  5. #5
    Richard Raymond's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Durham, NH

    Re: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    The 210 will work for you and give you better perspective on your portraits. When you want to do a full length shot simply move the camera farther away from the subject to get everything in the frame. The flowers will be fine with the 210. The biggest challenge here will be for you to learn to set your plane of focus and learn rules for exposure compensation. Good luck with your photos.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Northern Virginia

    Re: Horseman LE 4x5-- Bellows extension and Lens Suggestion

    A 210 is a good starting point. That was my first LF lens with my Horseman.

    I have the extendable monorail, which gives you 700mm of rail. You can find a used one for cheap if you need it.

    My Horseman came with an extra long bellows, lucky me.

    I also have the regular bellows, wide angle bellows, and any cheap used Sinar bellows will work as well.

    Wide angle bellows is not what you're looking for if you're doing closeups, but speaking of wide angle, Sinar makes a "wide angle bellows 2" which is really nice for super short extensions, but that's for short focal lengths, or if you're shooting digital. It will fit your Horseman.

    I'll also add that the Horseman lens boards are far superior to any Sinar board. Try to get the Horseman ones, though Sinar will fit as well.

    Funny thing is that Horseman boards seem to fit in my Sinar P better than they fit in my Horseman.

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